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Bitter winters in the mitten leave us eagerly waiting for spring and summer. While longer days and warmer weather give us that extra boost of serotonin, the sunny season comes at a cost.

Michigan’s storm season typically begins in late March, peaks in July, and runs through early September. As temperatures rise, moisture and humidity in the air increase, causing strong winds and thunderstorms, and the occasional unavoidable power outage.

Follow these tips to make sure you and your family are safe and prepared.  

Know the difference between severe weather alerts

When dark clouds start creeping in, you might be notified with one of the following alerts. Each of them holds significance and understanding their differences can help you determine how to react and stay safe.

  • A severe weather advisory is issued when a hazardous weather event is likely or occurring. An advisory is for less serious conditions that could cause inconvenience if caution is not exercised.
  • A severe thunderstorm watch is when weather conditions exist where a severe thunderstorm can develop. It doesn’t mean severe weather will occur, but it’s possible. It’s best to monitor the situation and prepare to act in case weather conditions worsen.
  • A severe thunderstorm warning is when severe weather conditions have been reported and are occurring in the warning area. Danger to life and property are present. Take cover and close the windows in your home and vehicle.

Create an emergency plan

A storm can go from bad to worse in matter of minutes. Getting ahead and creating a plan can help you and your family stay safe, minimize impacts and cope with severe weather and its consequences more easily.

  • Stay informed. Download WDIV Local4Casters app, powered by DTE, for free on the Apple or Google Play store to get real-time forecasts, storm alerts and more to help you prepare for severe weather coming our way. For an even closer look, Rick Foltman, DTE’s own meteorologist, recommends tuning in to the NOAA All Hazards/Weather radio for up to the minute changes in weather risks.
  • Know what disasters are most likely to occur in your area. Throughout Michigan, many of us prepare for severe thunderstorms, blistering windstorms or heavy snow in the wintertime. Discover what typically effects your area the most and develop a plan to prepare accordingly.
  • Consider your household needs. Think about your family, pets, medical accommodations, invaluables, living situation, and more, and create a plan that matches your needs.
  • Make sure everyone’s on the same page. Make sure you and your family know what to do when a storm occurs. Pick a space in your house that’s safe and easy to find, like a basement or another room on the lowest floor without windows and develop a way to communicate if you are not in the same location. See more ideas on developing a communication plan.
  • Practice makes perfect! Create mock scenarios for you and your family to run through so you’re ready during a storm. Don’t forget to include pets too.

Put together an emergency supply kit

Another important step in preparing for severe weather is putting together an emergency supply kit. A storm may limit access to some of our everyday essentials, so having a backup supply can help us get through it with greater ease. Some ideas of what to include in a basic emergency supply kit are:

  • Battery-operated flashlight or lantern and extra batteries
  • NOAA weather radio
  • Candles and candle holders
  • Matches
  • First aid kit
  • One gallon of water per person per day for several days (for drinking and sanitation)
  • At least a several-day supply of non-perishable food (and a can opener if food is canned)
  • Disposable plates and utensils
  • Wind-up or battery-powered clock
  • Corded telephone (cordless phones don’t work during an outage and your cell phone might not have service if towers are affected).
  • Blankets
  • Sleeping bag
  • Cash

Other ideas may include:

  • Backpack to store your supplies
  • Tissues
  • Toilet paper and bags for personal sanitation
  • Entertainment – paper and markers, cards, board games, etc.
  • Formula and diapers
  • Extra pet food and water
  • A change of clothes for each person in the home
  • Paper towels
  • Fire extinguisher

Determine what items are most important to you and your family and be sure to include them in your kit.

Download the DTE Energy mobile app

Get real-time storm updates via email or text messages and report an outage from your device. Click here to download the app from the Apple or Google Play store.

Visit our Outage Center for real-time storm updates and restoration times and follow us on Facebook or Twitter for more storm information and other things DTE.